Call to Glory - part 2 — episode #41

As Jason and Lieutenant Briggs were out scouting, they came upon an Indian in the river.  A closer looked showed that the Indian was wearing a soldier’s jacket.  “Pity the poor devil who was issued that jacket,” Briggs declared bitterly.   “We’re gonna split that savage right down to his skin.  And I hope he tries something, ‘cause I don’t wanta stop there!”


Jason reminded Briggs that the Sioux was on his own land.  The river was the boundary.  If Briggs crossed it, he’d be violating a federal law.


That made Briggs angry.  “I wouldn’t expect you to care about you country’s uniform since they took it away from you.”  Briggs called behind him, ordering a Sergeant to take the command.  The Lieutenant was so gung ho on killing the Indian that he didn’t see what Jason saw.  Jason saw some flashes in the tree on top of a mountain.  “I’ll be right back…” Briggs stated as he kneed his horse forward.


Jason took off after him at lightening speed.  When he caught up to Briggs and his horse, they were at the edge of the creek.  Jason tackled Briggs, causing both Briggs and his horse to fall to the ground.  Briggs started fighting him as the Indian watched.  Finally, he grabbed Briggs by the coat.  “Briggs, there’s thirty Sioux rifles up there on that hill,” Jason warned.  Jason ordered him to look.


Briggs turned and looked.  He saw the Sioux’s on the hill.  “McCord, you’re gonna get twenty years for this,” Briggs warned.  “I’m filing a former complaint.”


“I hope you get the chance,” Jason muttered as they watched the Sioux.


Sure enough, he put Jason in jail.  Custer came to visit Jason.  He remembered the last time he’d seen Jason in jail.  “Seems like you got yourself in a peck of trouble this time,” Custer declared.  Custer sat down.  “Briggs said that Indian was wearing a Seventh Calvary jacket.  Two of my men were murdered by Indians last month.  That jacket was bound to belong to one of them.”


“Maybe,” Jason stated.  “Or maybe he’d been wearing it for five years.”


“The point is, it was a Calvary jacket on the back of that Indian…”


“No, General…The point is we have a Treaty because…”


“Well, maybe that treaty is just a little bit outdated, Jason!” Custer declared as he jumped up. 


“Maybe you’re thinking that it’s a little outdated.”


“Jason, when you were younger…”


“I’ve learned a few things since I was younger, General.”


“Like how to avoid a fight?” Custer asked.  Jason gave him a hard stare.  “Forget it, Jason…I didn’t mean that.  I know you had reasons for what you did.”  Custer said he’d talk to them about dropping the charges.


Custer was interrupted when another soldier came up to the cell.  “Sir, General Sheridan’s detail is approaching the gate.”  Jason sat up on the side of the cot at that.  Custer remembered that Jason knew General Sheridan.  They were having a shin dig for the General and his detail that night.  “I’m sure he’d love to have you there.”


“Well, you can tell him for me, General..I sure would like to be there!”


Custer said he’d see what he could do about getting Jason out of there.


There was a storm outside that evening while the “shin dig” was going on. 


Jason was able to get to the shin dig.  Libby Custer introduced him to General Sheridan, whom assured her they already knew each other.  “General Custer is in the study with Mr. MacAllister.  If you could remind him of his other guests, I’d appreciate it,” Libby told Jason.  But before Jason could get to the study, Jennie stopped him to introduce him to her father. 


Mr. Galvin thanked Jason for helping his daughter.  “Jennie tells me you run the Indian agency.”  Jason thought that was a challenging job. 


When Lieutenant Briggs and Cable came in, they saw Jason laughing with Jennie.  “Looks like Old McCoward is beating your time,” Cable declared with a smile.


Jason excused himself, needing to see General Custer.  He promised Jennie a dance later. 


Suddenly, thunder sounded.  Everyone froze and turned to the door.  An Indian, Chief Crazy Horse, stood in the doorway.  “Where is your long-haired Chief?” he asked as everyone stared at him.  General Custer stepped out of the study.  He gave his wife a reassuring touch as he stood next to her.  “I come in peace, Long Hair.  I have heard that the Chief of the Pawnee soldiers has come.  I bring him words from the Sioux nation.”  Custer introduced Chief Sitting Horse as one of Sitting Bull’s war chiefs. 


He spoke to General Sheridan.  “Too many warriors have died.  We want no more of death.  We want only to be left alone.  We stayed in the camps you gave us where there is food.  We must follow the buffalo.  If we are to starve…we will starve in our own land.”


“Why do you talk of starving?” General Sheridan asked.  “We provided food for your people, according to the treaty.”


“Words written in water.”


“Those words were written in blood, Crazy Horse.  Better the white man, better the red man.  If you have grievances…if you have misunderstandings, that’s what the Indian agency is for.”


Crazy Horse pointed at Mr. Galvin.  “That man…he has cheated us!  He has killed as many of my people as long hair has done!  But Long Hair killed quickly!  But hunger is a slow death.  We did not ask for the scraps from your tables.  We are hunters.  We ask only to be left alone!  If you do not, your women will weep as our women have wept.”


Chief Crazy Horse turned to leave, but Lieutenant Briggs held a sword against him.  He intended to kill him.  “General, he came in peace,” Jason said softly.


General Custer thought about it.  Briggs and Chief Crazy Horse stood staring at each other, the sword at his throat.  “Let him go, Briggs,” Custer said just as softly.


Jennie was upset at what the Chief had said about her father.  Her father excused himself.  Briggs came to give her comfort and Jason came to speak to her.  But Briggs didn’t like Jason.  “The sight of an Indian just make your legs turn rubber, doesn’t it?  You know, I dropped my charges against you because I knew you were a friend of the General’s, and I think a lot of him as an officer and a man.  But I won’t stand around and watch you turn this outfit into a Company of Cowards, McCord!”  He put his arm around Jennie and led her away.


MacAllister and Hazin had been watching from the door of the study.  “I thought you had Custer primed,” Hazin grumbled.  “It could have happened right then.”


Jason and Custer went to talk privately.  “I shouldn’t have let him go, Jason.  He needed to be taught a lesson. They are not supposed to leave the reservation.  He broke out of the reservation and broke into my house, insulted my guests.  I should have killed him.”


“After what he did, you have a right to be angry,” Jason agreed.  “But doesn’t what he said bother you?  What are you going to do about that?”


Custer stared into Jason’s eyes.  “Don’t play my conscience, Jas!” 


Jason said his goodbyes and left.


Later that night, he silently walked up to General Sheridan as he sat out on a wagon smoking a cigar.  “If I didn’t know what you were here for, I’d never guessed it,” the General stated.  He wondered what Jason had found out.


Jason knew that Custer was being used, but he didn’t know who or why.  “Macallister is part of it.  He’s trying to convince the General that no one can block his nomination next year.”


“If he wins an Indian War,” the General finished for Jason.  “Maybe you were right.  Maybe you oughta recall Custer.”


“No sir, I was wrong.  You might as well strip him of  his rank.  The Seventh is his life.”  General Sheridan reminded Jason Custer was his friend too. 


“When a man’s ambition blinds him to his duty, he’s no longer fit to command.”


“There’s more to it than that, sir,” Jason stated.  “A lot more.”  Jason assured the General that Custer wasn’t capable of forming a war.  “Someone else is pulling those strings.”  The General wondered about Crazy Horse’s accusations.  He wondered if someone could be starving the Indians into a fighting mood.  “I’m going to have a talk with Galvin, the Indian agent.”


“President Grant had an idea you could handle this alone.  But after tonight, I don’t think we can afford to wait.  I’m sending to Fort Kearney for reinforcements.”


“Then you’ll have your war for sure,” Jason warned.  “General…give me one more week.”


“Alright.  A short one…five days.”


True to his word, Jason went to visit Mr. Galvin.  He was surprised to see that the Indian Agent was packing.  He wondered if it was because of what the Indian had said.  “Don’t lecture to me about running away from responsibilities, McCord!  I know about you!”


“What else do you know, Mr. Galvin?” Jason questioned.  He wasn’t sure what Jason meant.  “Somebody’s gone out of their way to start an uprising.  A good way to do that would be to short-change the Indians on their rations.”  Galvin stated  he was busy and hurried toward the back room.


Suddenly, Jason heard Galvin cry out, then a loud thud.  He rushed to the back room, only to get hit on the head.  He fell to the gournd.


Fuel was dumped out on the floor of the Trading post.  On his way out the door, the unknown assailant threw a lantern, setting the entire building on fire.  Jason woke up and tried to escape as he looked for Galvin.  Unfortunately, he didn’t find the man.  Jason barreled against the door and ran from the building.


He found a Sioux war lance outside the agency and too it to General Custer.  “I looked for your father, Jennie.  He wasn’t in there.”  Briggs didn’t believe him.  Custer told Briggs to save it for the Sioux.  “General, hold off until I can scout the area.  There was one set of fresh tracks outside that cabin and two coming out.  It wasn’t a war party.  Galvin may still be alive.  If you send a regiment in there…” Custer agreed and told Briggs to put Company A and B on alert.


“Jas, if you’re not back by tomorrow night, I’m leading a night march,” Custer warned.  Jason assured him he’d be back.


Jason went on his scouting mission, but as he stopped for a drink of water, he suddenly found himself surrounded by Sioux Indians. 


A horse with a man slung over the saddle came rushing back to the army fort.  Custer came out to see who it was.  It was Galvin, and he was dead.  Jennie tried to run to him, but Briggs held her back.  Galvin had been shot with an arrow.  The blanket on his body told Custer that it was Chief Crazy Horse.  “Well Captain?”


MacAllister and Custer’s eyes met.  Custer gave the orders and everyone got ready to move out.  The trumpet played the march. 


Custer mounted his horse and gave the orders for the forward march ahead.  The Calvary headed out to attack.


Call to Glory ― Cast

Next ― Call to Glory - part 3

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*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!

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